Opinion Firing Rex Tillerson is welcome change for our national security

21:27  13 march  2018
21:27  13 march  2018 Source:   The Hill

Gulf Arabs relish Tillerson firing; Iran weighs nuclear deal

  Gulf Arabs relish Tillerson firing; Iran weighs nuclear deal <p>Reactions in the Middle East to the firing of U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reflect the volatile divide between Iran, where many fear his departure heralds the demise of the 2015 nuclear deal, and Gulf Arab nations hoping for a more hawkish U.S. stance toward Tehran and Qatar.</p>Iran's daily Javad newspaper, believed to be close to the hard-line Revolutionary Guard, said Wednesday that replacing Tillerson with CIA director Mike Pompeo signaled the end of the nuclear deal.

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The tumult in the Trump administration continued today with the president's justifiable firing of Rex Tillerson as secretary of State, with the intent to nominate CIA Director Mike Pompeo as his replacement and Gina Haspel as the next CIA director. While another serious strike against stability in governance for this most unusual president, the action is a net gain for American national security.

There is much good in nominating a woman to be the nation's first female CIA director. There also is much good in nominating someone who has a strong relationship with the next secretary of State, if Pompeo is confirmed. The CIA supports all arms of American foreign policy, not just the military, and increasing connections at the top of the CIA and State Department is good for the country's security.

The big lesson of the Tillerson firing

  The big lesson of the Tillerson firing What surprised Washington foreign policy and political gurus was not Rex Tillerson’s dismissal as secretary of state, which had been rumored for months, but how it was done. President Trump fired his secretary of state in a tweet. It was the Washington equivalent of breaking up with your romantic partner with a Post-it.“Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State,” the president tweeted at 8:44 a.m. Tuesday. “He will do a fantastic job! Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service!”The dismissal stunned Washington. It shouldn’t have.

Nominating a career official carries risk and reward. Choosing a career CIA intelligence officer allows for immediate familiarity with the fundamentals of intelligence and the specific management, priorities, policy and planning matters of the agency. In some circumstances, though, it could lead to groupthink solutions based on spending a career on the inside. The CIA is an incredibly dynamic learning organization, but it can suffer from insularity. Ideally, a nominee will have inside and outside experience, but one can be a tremendous director coming from the inside.

Nominating Haspel has real down sides. She is directly linked to some of the darkest moments in CIA history. Haspel's involvement in the willful destruction of evidence about CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques program was an act of defiance of Congress and the 9/11 Commission. It may have won her huzzahs in small circles, but the rule of law is threatened when government officials knowingly violate lawful congressional and commission investigations. I was on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence when word came out about the destroyed tapes, and it was correctly viewed as a brazen and dangerous act against our democracy.

Trump ordered Tillerson to eat salad during dinner in China: report

  Trump ordered Tillerson to eat salad during dinner in China: report President Trump ordered Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to eat a salad served to U.S. diplomats during a trip to China last year, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.The Chinese leaders had reportedly included Caesar salad on the menu for a dinner wi th Trump, Tillerson and other top U.S. officials in November. The event was held in China's Great Hall of the People during Trump's tour of Asia.Trump grew worried that the Chinese officials might be offended if the U.S. leaders didn't eat the salad, the Journal reported."Rex, eat the salad," Trump told his top diplomat, according to the newspaper.

Pompeo leaves a mixed legacy at CIA. On the positive side, he was an enthusiastic supporter of the mission and workforce. He obviously had the ear of the president, which is essential for any CIA director. Pompeo listened to complaints about former CIA Director John Brennan's well-intended reorganization plan and did make some modest adjustments. On the other hand, he continued the trend started by former CIA Director Porter Goss of not checking his partisan impulses on Capitol Hill.

Pompeo too often used the authority of his office to back President Trump's strange, persistent assertion that the intelligence community concluded Russia did not influence the outcome of the 2016 election. This is false, and Pompeo almost certainly knew this. Most recently, Pompeo was strong and accurate in saying the intelligence community did not, and would not, look at the domestic impact of Russia's interference in our nation's 2016 election. This was a good, corrective move, but his earlier statements will stain his legacy of violating the cardinal imperative of talking truth to power.

Tillerson fails to thank Trump after firing

  Tillerson fails to thank Trump after firing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson thanked the American people, his State Department staff and the nation's extensive network of diplomats in his farewell statement on Tuesday. One person he did not thank: President Donald Trump, the man who nominated him for the job but abruptly told the world of his ouster in a tweet on Tuesday morning.The only mention of Trump came at the top of the statement when Tillerson mentioned that the President had called him at "a little after noontime from Air Force One" to talk about his ouster.

Russia likely will see no gain in President Trump's latest moves. Tillerson will be remembered as one of the worst secretaries of State in modern times. Tillerson had no relationship with the president, was widely disliked by the workforce, and seemed to have no goals other than wanting to streamline the department. His vision was far too small for the import of the job.

Moscow will likely evaluate Tillerson's departure as a sign of his ineffectiveness and not that better times are ahead in U.S.-Russian relations. Pompeo, should he be confirmed, has consistently condemned Russia as being somewhere between competitor and adversary. Russia should take no comfort in Pompeo's base instinct.

Pompeo clearly has a relationship with the president, which is vital for American diplomacy. The State Department has been dangerously sidelined by the Trump administration, causing imbalance in the making and execution of national security policy. It is vital for America for diplomacy to regain stature vis- -vis the Pentagon. More careful, balanced American foreign policy is not in Moscow's interest.

Longtime diplomat: Tillerson's public firing makes my head explode

  Longtime diplomat: Tillerson's public firing makes my head explode Donald Trump's firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Twitter was unprecedented but also inevitable given their policy differences, Aaron David Miller says.Tuesday's public firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, by presidential tweet no less, is a bizarre and veritable head-exploder.

Turnover after the first of an administration is normal, but like all things, President Trump has taken turnover to a new level. This much change makes us look chaotic, unpredictable and unreliable. It is doubly damaging that it takes place in a time that China and Russia, our chief competitors, are doubling down on retaining their leaders and following strategic paths.

Presidents only get one chance to maximize their first-year political capital, and while Congress has passed sweeping legislation on taxes that the president signed, President Trump has done little to bend the world in our direction. Even with a team more like him in place, our nation will not get a second chance to get it right the first time.

Todd M. Rosenblum was a senior defense and homeland security official in the Obama administration, was a career official at the U.S. Department of Stateand the Central Intelligence Agency, and a staff member on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. He is now a senior fellow in the Scowcroft Center for International Security at the Atlantic Council.

Why Trump dumped Tillerson .
There's never a dull moment in President Trump's White House. Trump has dramatically shaken up up his frontline national security team just days after announcing a potentially groundbreaking diplomatic overture to North Korea. On Tuesday morning, the president unceremoniously dumped long-suffering Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (who reportedly learned of his ouster via Trump's tweet), replacing him with loyal CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Trump ia also promoting Gina Haspel, the CIA's deputy director, to lead the agency. She would be the first woman to helm the 70-year-old spy agency.

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